Jason Pierre-Paul has arguably been the acquisition of the off season across the entire NFL. He won’t be talked about much nationally because it’s the Tampa bay Buccaneers, but he deserves to be talked about because he has been that good.
Pierre Paul recorded his sixth sack of the season on Sunday and is fourth in the NFC, only two behind Aaron Donald, who has eight. No one really expected this type of performance from JPP and he is well on his way to double digit sacks, something he hasn’t accomplished since 2014.
Week in and week out, JPP has dominated offensive lines and it has been a really long time since Buccaneer fans have seen a defensive lineman do that. Pierre Paul was asked today whether or not this has been his best start to a season of his career.
“I won’t necessarily [say] it’s a better start. I’ve always been the same player. It’s probably hard for people to see, but I’ve always been the same player that I always was, it’s just hard for people to see,” Pierre Paul said. “There’s nothing I’ve changed in my game to make me boost up the energy or go even harder – it’s just me player. It’s a want to. Any time [there’s] a want to in what you’re doing, you don’t care what it is.”
The Buccaneers racked up five sacks on Sunday, which for them is almost an anomaly. Everything seemed to click on Sunday with the group that was put out there and JPP acknowledged that it’s even more difficult to do it with the injuries continuing to pile up for this team.
“Obviously, we’ve got guys down. It’s no secret we’ve got guys down and it’s tough. Like I say, in this game, you never know. I look [at it like] this – as long as you go out there and do your job – whatever the coach [is] asking for – it’s going to wind up being okay,” Pierre Paul said.
That’s exactly what the player did on Sunday, there job. The Buccaneers also did something on defense that they very rarely do. They got a goal line stand from the one yard line. Pierre Paul had something interesting to say about that goal line stand.
“We line up on the goal line – that was a critical down. They [were] going for it on fourth down and guys just knew we couldn’t let them in and that’s what we did. We just played all out. First time – they actually got in one and then the second time we [were] like, ‘Okay, they’re not going to get in,’ and we stopped them,” Pierre Paul said. “It was just a want to. We didn’t want them to get in and I think anytime it’s goal line, it’s a want to. That’s what it was.”
That last part caught my attention. Did these players not “want to” under Mike Smith? The energy on Sunday certainly seemed to improve and the Buccaneers as well as JPP need to continue riding this positive wave Mark Duffner is bringing.